Between 2010 and 2013, Greek yogurt sales increased from $391 million to $2.6 billion. That’s a 564 percent spike, which is unprecedented for a dairy product with live bacterial cultures that’s also named after a Balkan nationstate.
But not all Greek yogurts were created equal. You probably have your favorite brand—I’ve been mindlessly loyal to Voskos for forever—but few have ever done the intensive side-by-side testing to determine, (pseudo)scientifically which is objectively the best.
We grabbed 14 of the top brands that are carried in major grocery stores and rated them on a scale of 1 to 10 on overall deliciousness, and then, to serve as a tie-breaker, we took their level of yogurtiness into consideration. (You know, yogurtiness: the deliciously sour funk that separates the Greek from the Gogurt.) We got plain when we could and defaulted to the next most neutral flavor when that wasn’t available.
Grab a cup of (insert personal favorite Greek yogurt brand here) and start scrolling—you’re about to learn something.
14. Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Vanilla
Overall: negative infinity
Yogurtiness: Not sure this can legally be called yogurt
You may have noticed that negative infinity is not an integer between one and ten. You are correct, but we value our judges’ discretion. It tasted like if you left a can of Duncan Hines Vanilla frosting out in the sun to ferment for a few days, then thinned it out with some skim milk and an irresponsible amount of Splenda. Boss lady and esteemed ‘gurt critic Audie Metcalf Ruyle had to spit it out into an empty Voskos cup, which seemed dramatic but understandable.
13. Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla
The good news is, in the battle of the low-calorie “ooooh, I’m treating myself but not really” Greek yogurts, Dannon Light & Fit won by whatever infinity minus two is. It still had that horrifying combination of gasoline-like artificial vanilla scent and artificial sweeteners, but at least you could understand how someone might mistake this for actual yogurt.
12. Kroger Blueberry Greek Nonfat
Part of me has always maintained that most generic products are as good as the name-brand equivalent. That part of me has been completely shattered by the grainy foulness that is Kroger yogurt. Also, they left points on the board for not calling it “Krogurt.” Portmanteaus are an automatic +1.
11. Voskos Honey
You were my boy Voskos honey flavor! You were my breakfast staple for no reason other than solid branding and complacency, but now I know you’re just an overly sweet curdled mess and I’ve been living a lie. Food editor Lesley Bargar Suter said you tasted like actual dirt, and I couldn’t even bring myself to stand up for you.
10. Oikos Strawberry
1. John Stamos’ face should be somewhere on the packaging. 2. This was so sweet and creamy and almost artificially thick that it completely coated your mouth and wouldn’t let you taste anything else.
9. Chobani Strawberry
Almost identical to Oikos, minus John Stamos (loses points) plus some quality yogurtiness (gains points). But since this was nonfat, which Chobani sticks to harder than any other yogurt brand, there wasn’t enough creaminess to counter the acid. It actually burned your throat on the way down, which violated the first rule of being yogurt: Do no harm.
8. The Greek Gods’ Greek YogurtOverall: 4.3
Look how Greek the letters are! They’re the Greekest! If there was an award for most Grecian packaging, this would win in a landslide. But something about books and covers and judgment and whatnot—anyways, the yogurt was grainy and sickly sweet and had none of that bacterial tang that you want and need.
7. Stonyfield Whole Milk Organic Greek VanillaOverall: 4.3
This is a fine yogurt. You wouldn’t protest to it if it were served at a medium-priced hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast, but you wouldn’t go deliberately seek it out either. It had real vanilla bean, which is a definite plus, but the yogurt itself was a little thin and a little rank.
6. Siggi’s Blood OrangeOverall: 5.0
If Ralph’s had any variety other than blood orange sitting on its shelves that day, this might have gone differently. That’s bad science, and its for sure our fault, but what’s done is done. The yogurt is unprecedentedly creamy, and has a beautiful tang to it. But, per Audie’s only written tasting note, “blood orange tastes like rot.” And so it does. If you want to recreate the sensation, brush your teeth, take a bite of sharp cheddar, then chug some orange juice. But, to still finish in the top six with such a visceral flavor description speaks to how good the other parts of the yogurt were.
5. Tillamook Strawberry
It’s not a thinking person’s Greek yogurt, which is totally fine. The strawberries are real, the 2 percent yogurt is so creamy it tastes whole, and it was sweet but not cloying. Tillamook makes a fantastic mid-level yogurt, just as they make a fantastic mid-level mild cheddar.
4. Fage 2% (with optional-but-recommended honey drizzle)
This is most peoples’ gateway Greek yogurt. It was the first to be sold in massive tubs at Costco, which was before the turn of the decade, so we’re all somewhat endebted to them. And Fage’s yogurt totally holds up against its imitators. It’s absurdly thick and creamy, it’s never grainy, and it has just enough (a gateway amount) of sourness.
3. Wallaby Organic 2%
Wallaby will punch (do wallabies punch or kick?) you right in the face with a near-offensive amount of yogurt funk, and you’re happy to receive it. It’s not quite as thick as Fage, and you have to give it a good stir before taking a bite (which adds to its overall realness) but the combination of sour, sweet, creamy, fatty, and any other positive yogurt adjective that exists makes Wallaby a serious contender. It’s the Greek-yogurtiest of all the Greek yogurts.
2. Noosa Raspberry
Ok, ok, ok, so Noosa isn’t actually Greek—it’s an Australian unstrained yogurt, which means it has less protein and more fat and other bad things. HOWEVER (all-caps to show importance) the nutrition specs on Noosa are similar enough to the more sugary Greek yogurts, and the price and packaging definitely put it into this new high-end yogurt market. Also, people go completely apeshit for this stuff—it’s even inspired more apeshitness than any Greek variety we’ve seen—so, in essence, the court of public opinion made the decision to include it, not us. Now that the guilt has been washed from our hand—this is the absolute gold standard of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts. Unbelievably creamy, the fruit isn’t some sickly sweet goo, and they spell it “yoghurt” which makes us feel like we’re in a Tolkein novel.
1. Smari Vanilla
Normally, adjectives like “unbelievably” are meant to be hyperbolic. Smari Icelandic (same concept as Greek) yogurt is, literally, unbelievably creamy. I don’t buy it. Someone’s lying here—there’s no way this custardy cup of pure unadulterated delight has 16 grams of protein and only 140 calories. It’s like a more silken snack pack with a ton of actual vanilla bean and live bacterial cultures. There’s a slight aftertaste that might be confused with vomit (bear with us here) but, somehow, it only makes the sweet, fragrant vanilla beans taste sweeter and more fragrant. It is the absolute perfect storm of yogurt.
HONORABLE MENTION THAT WAS DISQUALIFIED BASED ON UNEXPECTED REGIONAL DIFFERENCES
White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt
Since Bulgaria borders Greece, we assumed that they would have a similar style of yogurt. We were wrong, and we made some unfair generalizations along the way. This White Mountain yogurt was really liquidy, more like a kefir than anything, but it was absolutely delicious. It was smooth, and velvety, and had a ‘gurt punch that makes Wallaby look like Oikos (you only get that reference if you read the whole post).
PLUCKY UNDERDOG THAT WE ULTIMATELY FELL IN LOVE WITH
Kroger Spiced Apricot Butternut Squash on Manager’s Special for $0.69 (nice!)Maybe it’s just because our expectations were so low, but my god, what an impressive underdog performance. The butternut squash was a dead ringer for any solid can of pumpkin pie filling, and the cinnamon in the spiced apricots really rounded out the ensemble. It somehow even made the Krogurt less grainy.